Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Board-certified music therapists (MT-BCs) work in medical, psychiatric, and educational settings to help clients improve psychological and physiological functioning.
The music therapy degree program at Nazareth College, approved by the American Music Therapy Association, offers several advantages, including the performance opportunities of other music majors: You will take four years of hour-long lessons and give a senior recital in your primary performance area. You can perform in honors recitals, compete in concerto and aria contests, and perform with multiple ensembles. In your clinical training, which begins with observations in your freshman year, you will have a board-certified music therapist as a supervisor at every session throughout your four years. You will get experience conducting sessions in community health care and education settings and in our state-of-the-art Music Therapy Clinic, part of the College's York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute. The York Institute houses clinics in many therapeutic disciplines, which allows every student the chance to co-treat with students and supervisors from other professions. Very few music therapy programs in the country provide these expansive opportunities.
Music therapy majors gain clinical practice skills through musical proficiency, research, and direct clinical experience, studying the impact of melody, harmony, and rhythm on children and adults with physical, communication, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.
Aside from your primary instrument, you will study piano, guitar, and percussion and learn to perform, improvise, and compose music for therapy.
Completing the curriculum and clinical training, including the 6-month internship in the "ninth semester," makes you eligible to sit for the national certification examination in music therapy administered by the Certification Board of Music Therapists. Successfully completing the exam provides you the board certification credential (MT-BC).
With the MT-BC, you can work in a variety of clinical settings or you can pursue graduate school for advanced practice in music therapy or for a related field such as social work, special education, or neuroscience.
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Auditions are required for this major. View audition details.
Education: B.M., University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory; M.M.T., Southern Methodist University; Ph.D., University of Kansas
Teaching and Research Interests: Integrative Music Therapy; rehabilitation of speech and language in adults: evidence-based practice in medicine and gerontology.
A six-month internship at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, led to a full-time job there for Jessica Jarvis (left) as one of three board-certified music therapists. In a Texas Medical Center story, Jarvis said, "To see the joy in a mom’s eyes when her child gets up and walks for the first time because it’s easier with music as a stimulation and motivation… I see music therapy making a real difference in my patients." Jarvis is also working on a doctorate in rehabilitation sciences, to advance research in the field.
Volunteering at an elementary school, working in a clinic on campus, and co-disciplinary experience make the music therapy major an exciting and integrative program with real world experience.